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Linux Fast-STREAMS Installation and Reference Manual
About This Manual
This is Edition 4, last updated 2008-10-31, of The Linux Fast-STREAMS Installation and Reference Manual, for Version 0.9.2 release 4 of the Linux Fast-STREAMS package.
This package is released and distributed under the AGPL (see GNU Affero General Public License). Please note, however, that there are different licensing terms for the manual pages and some of the documentation (derived from OpenGroup1 publications and other sources). Consult the permission notices contained in the documentation for more information.
This manual is released under the FDL (see GNU Free Documentation License) with no sections invariant.
This guide provides information to developers on the use of the STREAMS mechanism at user and kernel levels.
STREAMS was incorporated in UNIX System V Release 3 to augment the character input/output (I/O) mechanism and to support development of communication services.
STREAMS provides developers with integral functions, a set of utility routines, and facilities that expedite software design and implementation.
The intent of this manual is to act as an introductory guide to the STREAMS programmer. It
is intended to be read alone and is not intended to replace or supplement the
Linux Fast-STREAMS manual pages. For a reference for writing code, the manual pages
This manual is intended for a highly technical audience. The reader should already be familiar with Linux kernel programming, the Linux file system, character devices, driver input and output, interrupts, software interrupt handling, scheduling, process contexts, multiprocessor locks, etc.
The guide is intended for network and systems programmers, who use the STREAMS mechanism at user and kernel levels for Linux and UNIX system communication services.
Readers of the guide are expected to possess prior knowledge of the Linux and UNIX system, programming, networking, and data communication.
Take care that you are working with a current version of this manual: you will not be notified of updates. To ensure that you are working with a current version, contact the Author, or check The OpenSS7 Project website for a current version.
A current version of this manual is normally distributed with the Linux Fast-STREAMS package.
STREAMS.texi,v Revision 0.9.2.45 2008-09-20 11:04:35 brian - added package patchlevel Revision 0.9.2.44 2008-08-03 06:03:36 brian - protected agains texinfo commands in log entries Revision 0.9.2.43 2008/07/27 08:49:17 brian - no invariant sections, more libtool ignores Revision 0.9.2.42 2008-04-28 12:54:00 brian - update file headers for release Revision 0.9.2.41 2008-04-25 11:50:49 brian - updates to AGPLv3 Revision 0.9.2.40 2007/12/15 20:19:44 brian - updates Revision 0.9.2.39 2007/11/06 10:27:04 brian - miscellaneous corrections Revision 0.9.2.38 2007/08/12 06:44:32 brian - updated licenses in manuals Revision 0.9.2.37 2007/03/17 08:31:56 brian - corrected formatting problems Revision 0.9.2.36 2007/02/28 06:30:55 brian - updates and corrections, #ifdef instead of #if Revision 0.9.2.35 2007/01/02 16:32:03 brian - updates for release, disable streams-bcm by default Revision 0.9.2.34 2006/12/31 13:26:37 brian - documentation updates for release Revision 0.9.2.33 2006/09/18 01:06:57 brian - updated manuals and release texi docs Revision 0.9.2.32 2006/08/28 10:47:05 brian - correction Revision 0.9.2.31 2006/08/28 10:32:54 brian - updated references Revision 0.9.2.30 2006/08/27 12:26:58 brian - finalizing auto release files Revision 0.9.2.29 2006/08/26 18:31:44 brian - handle long urls Revision 0.9.2.28 2006/08/26 09:18:27 brian - better release file generation Revision 0.9.2.27 2006/08/23 11:00:41 brian - added preface, corrections and updates for release Revision 0.9.2.26 2006/08/22 12:36:49 brian - udpates to documentation, tweaks to Stream head Revision 0.9.2.25 2006/03/22 10:02:04 brian - added makefile target index Revision 0.9.2.24 2006/03/03 10:57:11 brian - 32-bit compatibility support, updates for release Revision 0.9.2.23 2005/09/15 13:03:08 brian - added new graphics and updates Revision 0.9.2.22 2005/07/08 13:16:11 brian - updates to documentation Revision 0.9.2.21 2005/06/24 13:38:59 brian - added troubleshooting section to manuals Revision 0.9.2.20 2005/05/14 08:34:34 brian - copyright header correction Revision 0.9.2.19 2005/04/15 00:58:31 brian - working up documentation Revision 0.9.2.18 2005/04/14 08:06:09 brian - added figures Revision 0.9.2.17 2005/04/12 09:28:59 brian - corrections Revision 0.9.2.16 2005/04/11 20:48:41 brian - documentation updates and corrections Revision 0.9.2.15 2005/03/15 12:06:58 brian - Updated texinfo documentation. Revision 0.9.2.14 2005/03/15 00:56:42 brian - Updated version numbering in texinfo files. Revision 0.9.2.13 2005/03/15 00:51:34 brian - Updated version numbering in texinfo files. Revision 0.9.2.12 2005/02/17 22:57:34 brian - Some cross-reference corrections. Revision 0.9.2.11 2005/02/17 11:34:53 brian - Corrected some more texi problems. Revision 0.9.2.10 2005/01/24 11:57:57 brian - Updated texinfo headers. Revision 0.9.2.9 2004/12/19 15:15:02 brian - Corrected include position. Revision 0.9.2.8 2004/12/17 04:02:46 brian - Improving spec files. Revision 0.9.2.7 2004/11/06 10:24:35 brian - Updated documentation. Revision 0.9.2.6 2004/08/22 07:28:53 brian - Converted to shared common files. Revision 0.9.2.5 2004/08/22 06:17:50 brian - Checkin on new working branch. Revision 0.9.2.4 2004/08/15 19:59:29 brian - Build system updates. Revision 0.9.2.3 2004/05/29 08:28:01 brian - Working up stable release. Revision 0.9.2.2 2004/03/15 07:59:39 brian - Working up manual pages. Revision 0.9.2.1 2004/03/13 05:46:34 brian - Working up more documentation.
ISO 9000 Compliance
Only the TeX, texinfo, or roff source for this manual is controlled. An opaque (printed, postscript or portable document format) version of this manual is an UNCONTROLLED VERSION.
OpenSS7 Corporation disclaims all warranties with regard to this documentation including all implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, or title; that the contents of the manual are suitable for any purpose, or that the implementation of such contents will not infringe on any third party patents, copyrights, trademarks or other rights. In no event shall OpenSS7 Corporation be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with any use of this manual or the performance or implementation of the contents thereof.
OpenSS7 Corporation reserves the right to revise this software and documentation for any reason, including but not limited to, conformity with standards promulgated by various agencies, utilization of advances in the state of the technical arts, or the reflection of changes in the design of any techniques, or procedures embodied, described, or referred to herein. OpenSS7 Corporation is under no obligation to provide any feature listed herein.
U.S. Government Restricted Rights
If you are licensing this Software on behalf of the U.S. Government ("Government"), the following provisions apply to you. If the Software is supplied by the Department of Defense ("DoD"), it is classified as "Commercial Computer Software" under paragraph 252.227-7014 of the DoD Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulations ("DFARS") (or any successor regulations) and the Government is acquiring only the license rights granted herein (the license rights customarily provided to non-Government users). If the Software is supplied to any unit or agency of the Government other than DoD, it is classified as "Restricted Computer Software" and the Government's rights in the Software are defined in paragraph 52.227-19 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations ("FAR") (or any successor regulations) or, in the cases of NASA, in paragraph 18.52.227-86 of the NASA Supplement to the FAR (or any successor regulations).
Additional funding for The OpenSS7 Project was provided by:
See Author Index, for a complete listing and cross-index of authors to sections of this manual.
Please send bug reports to firstname.lastname@example.org using the send-pr script included in the Linux Fast-STREAMS package, only after reading the BUGS file in the release, or See Problem Reports. You can access the OpenSS7 GNATS database directly via the web, however, the preferred method for sending new bug reports is via mail with the send-pr script.
These are mailman mailing lists and so have convenient web interfaces for subscribers to control their settings. See http://www.openss7.org/mailinglist.html.
The mailing lists are as follows:
To avoid spam being sent to the members of the OpenSS7 mailing list(s), we have blocked mail from non-subscribers. Please subscribe to the mailing list before attempting to post to them. (Attempts to post when not subscribed get bounced.)
As an additional measure against spam, subscriber lists for all OpenSS7 mailing lists are not accessible to non-subscribers; for most lists subscriber lists are only accessible to the list administrator. This keeps your mailing address from being picked off our website by bulk mailers.
Acceptable Use Policy
It is acceptable to post professional and courteous messages regarding the OpenSS7 package or any general information or questions concerning STREAMS, SS7, SIGTRAN, SCTP or telecommunications applications in general.
The mailing list is blocked from messages of greater than
Quick Start Guide
Package streams-0.9.2.4 was released under AGPLv3 2008-10-31.
The OpenSS7 Linux Fast-STREAMS package is a High-Performance STREAMS framework for Linux that is compatible with SVR 4.2 MP STREAMS and a host of other commercial UNIX® STREAMS implementations, with complete debugging and production release capabilities. It is as a high-performance, production replacement for the buggy and now deprecated Linux STREAMS (LiS).
The Linux Fast-STREAMS package includes kernel modules, SVR 4.2 STREAMS drivers, modules, libraries, utilities, test programs, daemons, and development environment for the development and execution of STREAMS modules and drivers under Linux Fast-STREAMS. It is completely documented with over four hundred (435) manual pages, and three (3) major print set manuals.
The package configures, compiles, installs and builds rpms or debs for a wide range of Linux rpm(1)- or dpkg(1)-based distributions, and can be used on production kernels without patching, recompiling or tainting the kernel. Its small run-time footprint makes the release suitable for embedded targets.
This distribution is only currently applicable to Linux 2.4 and 2.6 kernels and was targeted
This is the streams-0.9.2.4 package, released 2008-10-31. This ‘0.9.2.4’ release, and the latest version, can be obtained from the download area of The OpenSS7 Project website using a command such as:
$> wget http://www.openss7.org/tarballs/streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2
The release is available as an autoconf(1) tarball, src.rpm or dsc, as a set of binary rpms or debs, or as a yum(8) or apt(8) repository. See the download page for the autoconf(1) tarballs, src.rpms, dscs, or repository access instructions. See the streams package page for tarballs, source and binary packages.
Please see the NEWS file for release notes and history of user visible changes for the current version, and the ChangeLog file for a more detailed history of implementation changes. The TODO file lists features not yet implemented and other outstanding items.
This release of the package is published strictly under Version 3 of the GNU Affero Public License which can be found in the file COPYING. Package specific licensing terms (if any) can be found in the file LICENSES. Please respect these licensing arrangements. If you are interested in different licensing terms, please contact the copyright holder, or OpenSS7 Corporation <email@example.com>.
See README-alpha (if it exists) for alpha release information.
The quickest and easiest way to ensure that all prerequisites are met is to download and install this package from within the OpenSS7 Master Package, openss7-0.9.2.G, instead of separately.
Prerequisites for the Linux Fast-STREAMS package are as follows:
When configuring and building multiple OpenSS7 Project release packages, place all of the source packages (unpacked tarballs) at the same directory level and all build directories at the same directory level (e.g. all source packages under /usr/src).
When installing packages that install as kernel modules, it is necessary to have the correct kernel development package installed. For the following distributions, use the following commands:
Ubuntu: $> apt-get install linux-headers Debian: $> apt-get install kernel-headers Fedora: $> yum install kernel-devel
You also need the same version of gcc(1) compiler with which the kernel was built. If it is not the default, add ‘CC=kgcc’ on the line after ‘./configure’, for example:
$> ../streams-0.9.2.4/configure CC='gcc-3.4'
The following commands will download, configure, build, check, install, validate, uninstall and remove the package:
$> wget http://www.openss7.org/tarballs/streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2 $> tar -xjvf streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2 $> mkdir build $> pushd build $> ../streams-0.9.2.4/configure --enable-autotest $> make $> make check $> sudo make install $> sudo make installcheck $> sudo make uninstall $> popd $> sudo rm -rf build $> rm -rf streams-0.9.2.4 $> rm -f streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2
If you have problems, try building with the logging targets instead. If the make of a logging target fails, an automatic problem report will be generated that can be mailed to The OpenSS7 Project.5 Installation steps using the logging targets proceed as follows:
$> wget http://www.openss7.org/tarballs/streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2 $> tar -xjvf streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2 $> mkdir build $> pushd build $> ../streams-0.9.2.4/configure --enable-autotest $> make compile.log $> make check.log $> sudo make install.log $> sudo make installcheck.log $> sudo make uninstall.log $> popd $> sudo rm -rf build $> rm -rf streams-0.9.2.4 $> rm -f streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2
See README-make for additional specialized make targets.
Brief Installation Instructions
The Linux Fast-STREAMS package is available from the downloads area of The OpenSS7 Project website using a command such as:
$> wget http://www.openss7.org/tarballs/streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2
Unpack the tarball using a command such as:
$> tar -xjvf streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2
The tarball will unpack into the relative subdirectory named after the package name: streams-0.9.2.4.
The package builds using the GNU autoconf utilities and the configure script. To build the package, we recommend using a separate build directory as follows:
$> mkdir build $> cd build $> ../streams-0.9.2.4/configure
In general, the package configures and builds without adding any special options to the configure script. For general options to the configure script, see the GNU INSTALL file in the distribution:
$> less ../streams-0.9.2.4/INSTALL
For specific options to the configure script, see the INSTALL-streams file in the distribution, or simply execute the configure script with the --help option like so:
$> ../streams-0.9.2.4/configure --help
After configuring the package, the package can be compiled simply by issuing the ‘make’ command:
Some specialized makefile targets exists, see the README-make file in the distribution or simply invoke the ‘help’ target like so:
$> make help | less
After successfully building the package, the package can be checked by invoking the ‘check’ make target like so:
$> make check
After successfully checking the package, the package can be installed by invoking the ‘install’ make target (as root) like so:
$> sudo make install
The test suites that ship with the package can be invoked after the package has been installed by invoking the ‘installcheck’ target. This target can either be invoked as root, or as a normal user, like so:
$> make installcheck
(Note: you must add the --enable-autotest flag to configure, above for the test suites to be invoked with ‘make installcheck’.)
The package can be cleanly removed by invoking the ‘uninstall’ target (as root):
$> sudo make uninstall
Then the build directory and tarball can be simply removed:
$> cd .. $> rm -rf build $> rm -rf streams-0.9.2.4 $> rm -f streams-0.9.2.4.tar.bz2
Detailed Installation Instructions
More detailed installation instructions can be found in the Installation, contained in the distribution in ‘text’, ‘info’, ‘html’ and ‘pdf’ formats:
$> cd ../streams-0.9.2.4 $> less doc/manual/streams.txt $> lynx doc/manual/streams.html $> info doc/manual/streams.info $> xpdf doc/manual/streams.pdf
The ‘text’ version of the manual is always available in the MANUAL file in the release.
The current manual is also always available online from The OpenSS7 Project website at:
$> lynx http://www.openss7.org/streams_manual.html
1.2 Organization of this Manual
1.3 Conventions and Definitions
STREAMS derives from Dennis Ritchie's original paper,6 was incorporated into the UNIX® System V Release 3 operating system, replaced the terminal input-output subsystem, pipes and FIFOs in UNIX® System V Release 4, and was improved in the USL release of the UNIX® System V Release 4.2 operating system.
Today, STREAMS is a part of every major branded UNIX® variant, such as AIX®, HP-UX®, IRIX®, MacOT®, OSF/1®, Solaris®, SUPER-UX®, UnixWare®, UXP/V®, and including many UNIX-like operating systems and popular embedded RTOS, but with the notable exception of Berkeley System Distribution releases, variants and offshoots, and Linux.
2.2 What is STREAMS?
STREAMS is a flexible framework for communication between a user level process and a kernel resident driver. It encompasses a set of kernel system calls providing a user-kernel interface that is backward compatible with the traditional character device driver interface, as well as a set of STREAMS driver and module entry points forming a driver-kernel interface. STREAMS also provides a rich set of kernel utility functions for the development and implementation of kernel-resident drivers and modules. STREAMS prompted the specification of the DDI/DKI which is an architecture independent driver-kernel interface that provides a standardized set of kernel functions (beyond just STREAMS) for the development of device and software drivers.
STREAMS provides a reconfigurable full-duplex communications path between user level process and kernel resident driver, termed a Stream. Modules can be inserted in the path between the user and driver under user level control. Streams can be linked across multiplexers under user control to form complex (yet reconfigurable) topologies of user level processes and drivers.
Communication of control and data information along a Stream is accomplished by message passing. There is no direct function call interface between components of a Stream. A Stream exists within the STREAMS framework inside the kernel and extend from the user-kernel interface to the kernel driver interface. Each component of a Stream consists of a pair of queues used to pass messages in the upstream direction to the kernel-user interface; or downstream, the kernel-driver interface.
At the kernel-user end of the Stream is a component called the Stream head. As with all components of a Stream, the Stream head consists of a queue pair and a specialized set of procedures. The Stream head procedures are responsible for converting between the system call interface presented to users and the message passing mechanism within the Stream.
At the kernel-driver end of the Stream is the Stream end. The Stream end also contains a queue pair and a set of procedures. The Stream end (or simply driver) procedures are responsible for converting between the message passing mechanism within the Stream and the actions and events of a hardware (or pseudo-) device.
Intermediate components within the Stream are called Modules. Modules consist of a queue pair for passing messages upstream and downstream, as well as a set of procedures for processing messages. Modules can be pushed onto the module stack between the Stream head and Stream end using a set of standardized input-output control commands.
In support of topologies more complex than these simple linear segments, STREAMS also provides a specialized Stream end (driver) called a Multiplexing driver. A Multiplexing driver has the ability to open multiple Streams to its upper interface (multiplexer) as well as linking multiple Streams beneath its lower interface (multiplexer). Again, a standardized set of input-output controls provide the user with the ability to configure a Multiplexing driver.
2.3 Why STREAMS?
With the ability to open multiple Streams to a driver, push and pop modules to and from the module stack on a Stream, and to link any Stream under a multiplexing driver–all under user control using standardized input-output controls–allows STREAMS to configure complex topologies to form protocol stacks.
Almost all specialized standard telecommunications software developed since 1990 was developed to run on STREAMS. This is for several reasons:
As a result, there is a significant body of commercial software implementing telecommunications protocol stacks that was developed, tested, validated, conformance tested, field verified, to run on STREAMS: and is still running on STREAMS.
The cost of reimplementation, retesting, revalidation, redoing conformance testing, and field re-verification, would likely be prohibitive: after all, the point of Linux is reducing cost, is it not?
2.4 Why STREAMS for Linux?
The Linux kernel was not developed with STREAMS in mind. For TPI/IP networking, Linux originally followed in the footsteps of the BSD NET2 release. Currently, the implementation of TCP/IP in the Linux kernel has long departed from the classical BSD organization and exhibits characteristics unique to the GNU/Linux operating system. For character device and terminal input-output, Linux follows closely the SVR 3 pre-STREAMS approach to pipes, FIFOs and terminal subsystem. The terminal subsystem implementation, too, has become unique to GNU/Linux.
Therefore, from the perspective of TCP/IP networking and Terminal I/O, there would be little reason to provide STREAMS for Linux. That is, if it were not for the body of software supporting OSI and telecommunications protocols based solely on STREAMS, for which Linux has little or no support.
So, the answer to the question, "Why STREAMS for Linux?" is: so that a GNU/Linux platform can enjoy the same wealth of telecommunications and OSI protocol stacks otherwise only available to big-iron UNIX®. Without STREAMS, Linux is probably just another BSD, and probably not a very good one.
2.5 History of STREAMS for Linux
In the mid-90's, GCOM Inc. embarked on development on an open source implementation of STREAMS called Linux STREAMS (LiS), likely driven by its use for porting existing OSI protocol stacks to Linux. In 2000, The OpenSS7 Project abandoned using the Linux networking model for implementation of the Signalling System No. 7 protocol (primarily due to the lack of support for the full BSD networking model under Linux) and switched to using STREAMS as the basis for all future development. The GCOM LiS release (2.2 at the time) was used as the STREAMS package. Over the span of the next 5 years, (and not surprisingly given the body of software), almost all Signalling System No. 7 products released on Linux used LiS for STREAMS. In 2005, Dave Grothe (the G in GCOM) announced that he would no longer be maintaining or developing LiS subsequent to the 2.18.0 release, stranding many users of the package.
Later in 2005, after briefly maintaining two GPL'ed releases of LiS, (2.18.1 and 2.18.2), The OpenSS7 Project release (after two years of development) the streams-0.7a.4 package: a reimplementation of SVR 4.2 STREAMS with compatibility modules for all major UNIX® releases, called Linux Fast-STREAMS. Linux Fast-STREAMS was intended as a POSIX/SUSv3 XSR conforming, high performance, production grade, replacement for LiS, suitable for mainline Linux adoption, and a better foundation on which to base SIGTRAN, VoIP, ISDN and SS7 protocol stacks developed under the The OpenSS7 Project, as well as a better foundation for porting commercial UNIX® OEM implementations to Linux. It is the streams-0.9.2.4 package that contains the documentation you are reading now.
2.6 Why Fast?
After working with LiS releases for over 3 years, in late 2003, The OpenSS7 Project decided to begin implementation of a replacement for LiS, because of a number of shortcomings of the LiS releases:
The replacement, named Linux Fast-STREAMS, was to correct all of these difficulties, and, by the initial ‘streams-0.7a.4’ release, was:
Many specific difficulties encountered with LiS not repeated by Linux Fast-STREAMS are contained in the COMPATIBILITY section of most of the manual pages.
The following kernel modules are installed by Linux Fast-STREAMS in the /lib/modules/2.4.20-28.7/streams/directory, with either a ‘.o’ or ‘.ko’ extension. 7
Additional kernel modules are provided by add-on packages.
The configuration of STREAMS drivers and modules is performed when compiling the Linux Fast-STREAMS subsystem. The STREAMS subsystem, core drivers and modules are part of every Linux Fast-STREAMS system.
The following lists the core drivers and modules, STREAMS kernel tunable parameters, and STREAMS configuration information:8
Additional drivers are provided by add-on packages.
The configuration of STREAMS drivers and modules is performed when compiling the Linux Fast-STREAMS subsystem. The STREAMS subsystem, core drivers and modules are part of every Linux Fast-STREAMS system.
The following lists the core drivers and modules, STREAMS kernel tunable parameters, and STREAMS configuration information:9
Additional modules are provided by add-on packages.
During the installation process of Linux Fast-STREAMS a subroutine library is built and installed on your system. For 64-bit systems that support 32-bit compatibility, two versions of each library are built and installed: one 64-bit native library and one 32-bit compatibility library. 64-bit native libraries are installed to the /usr/lib64 subdirectory. 32-bit native and 32-bit compatibility libraries are installed to the /usr/lib subdirectory.
In addition to the libstreams library, Linux Fast-STREAMS also installs compatibility libraries for LiS. These compatibility libraries permit applications previously linked with LiS shared libraries to function with Linux Fast-STREAMS without recompiling or relinking.
3.4.1 libstreams Library Routines
The following routines are present in the libstreams libraries. The routines in these libraries are standard STREAMS interface system calls documented in the System V Release 4.2 Programmer's Manual – STREAMS. Refer to the associated manual pages for detailed information on these routines.
3.4.2 libLiS Library Routines
The following routines are present in the libLiS libraries. The routines are identical to the routines present in the libstreams library and are provided in the libLiS library for compatibility with existing applications linked against libLiS.
3.4.3 libpLiS Library Routines
The following routines are present in the libpLiS libraries. The libpLiS library is the same as the libLiS and libstreams libraries but omits the pipe(2s) subroutine. The purpose of the libpLiS library was to permit it to be used as a library preload without affecting the pipe(2s) function used by existing programs linked against libc.
3.4.4 Using the Library
To use one of the Linux Fast-STREAMS libraries you can include the file sys/stropts.h in you application program source code. On you compiler command line, add the option ‘-I/usr/include/streams’ to include the version of sys/stropts.h that is distributed with Linux Fast-STREAMS.
When linking our program, or performing a final gcc to build your executable, include one of the following options on your command line:
See also Development for more information.
3.5.1 Init Scripts
3.5.2 User Utilities
3.5.3 Administrative Utilities